I appreciate everyone's time and for being patient with people like me who don't know much at all about kitchen knives.
So, I'm looking at getting some new knives. My current set was a department store buy from many years ago. I think I got them on sale for $80 or something like that. Now, I want to get a few more serious knives and I've read to stay away from the sets. I don't really have a budget per say and I wouldn't mind picking up the knives slowly to get better ones. I don't want to break the bank, but I'm also not looking at spending the least amount possible.
I currently live in the US, New Jersey and I'm nothing more than an at home cook. I chop a lot of veggies, break down chickens, de-bone legs of lamb and fillet a lot of fish.
I started to look at knives at Sur La Table and was really impressed with some of the Shuns I saw. After reading through a lot of posts, I see that they are not at all a good value for their price.
Here is what I think I need: A chef knife, utility knife, fillet knife, carving knife and steel. Besides that I don't really have any preferences but I do lean towards the knives that have the Japanese characters and kitana-like edges. I'm not even sure if I should be looking at carbon or SS. Here are some names that stand out from my readings: MAC Professional, Tojiro, Masahiro and Hiromoto. I don't need all of the knives from one line and would actually prefer to pick up knives from different makers.
For sharpening, I have the Kramer set of stones that Sur La Table sells. I hope I have a good set here. I don't have a lot of experience with sharpening kitchen knives, but I used to sharpen fishing knives all the time in my youth with an old wet stone.
I would also like to get back some counter space by ditching my block and installing a magnetic strip. I would need a recommendation here as I know very little about what to look for.